It’s fair to say that since his move from Everton to Newcastle United in the summer of 2010, Dan Gosling has hardly set the world alight at St James’ Park. He has only played 13 times in all competitions for Newcastle in the last 18 months and injuries have continued to harm his prospects in the north-east. With Yohan Cabaye coming back from suspension, Cheik Tiote returning from the African Cup of Nations, Danny Guthrie and James Perch ahead of him in the pecking order, and arguably Haris Vuckic and Mehdi Abeid more exciting youngsters, where does that leave Gosling?
The answer is, well and truly out of favour. In fact, if you could sum up Dan Gosling’s Newcastle career to date in one match, it would be the previous Premier League encounter against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane. Gosling started on the bench (which is where he usually finds himself at kick-off), came on after 68 minutes (which he does from time-to time) and got himself booked in the 25 or so minutes that he was on the pitch (nothing surprising there). But for a former England U21 international, once one of the country’s bright young prospects and who Everton fought really hard to keep hold of, this is quite a fall from grace.
The good news for Gosling is that he is still only 22 years of age, the bad news is that it looks his career-threatening injury (he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament back in March 2010) is doing just that – threatening his career at the highest level. What must be worrying for the Plymouth-born player is that he’s never managed more than 20 appearances over the course of a season and with further injuries hampering him in this campaign, you can see why that is the case.
This season actually started off pretty well for Gosling, as he impressed in Newcastle’s pre-season tour of America and it looked like he might even get a starting role at the beginning of the season. That didn’t materialise and in fact his only start for Newcastle in the league this season saw him sent off for two bookable offences against Norwich in a match that the Magpies lost 4-2 at Carrow Road. His high point of the season saw him net a consolation goal against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, which meant he became the 100th different player to score for Newcastle, putting him in the record books in an otherwise forgettable time at St James’ Park.
All is not lost for Dan Gosling. He is contracted at Newcastle until the summer of 2014, so has enough time to turn his career in a black and white shirt around. The big challenge for him is to stay fit for an extended period of time and in turn get a number of games under his belt. At the moment that is a major doubt and it is for that reason that I fear Gosling’s potential will go unfulfilled, at Newcastle at least.